Sunday, July 31, 2011

Donuts From Heaven

When we're in Maryland waiting on our load, we have a couple of parking spots we hang out in. We rotate so no one gets pissed off that we're using their lots as a truckstop, and before they have a chance to notice us, we're off to our next location.

One day we were at the Best Buy. Our TV had fizzled out and Ed went in to buy a new one. When he came back to the truck, he was standing at the kitchen counter telling me about all the models he saw as he was measuring the space for the TV. He wanted one bigger than what we had, but needed the dimensions before he bought a new one. He glanced out the window and saw some people lingering right outside and made a comment about it.

I said, "A man and a woman?"

"Yeah," he said. "How'd you know?"

"I saw them out there before. They were looking at the truck."

I looked out the window again and saw the man pointing out things on the truck and he looked as if he was explaining something to the woman. So I opened the window over the kitchen counter and hollered out.

"Hey there! Caught you lookin'!" I said.

The guy laughed and said, "You sure did. That truck is awesome! My wife and I were admiring it."

"Would you like to see inside?" I said.

"Could we?" he said.

"Sure! Come around to the back door." I said.

I let them both in, we all made our introductions and then I gave him the grand tour. He loved it. They had an RV, so were familiar with a lot of what we have inside, but he had never seen a truck outfitted like this. He was very impressed. And they were very nice, old fashioned, small town, people you meet at church kind of nice. He actually took his shoes off outside (leaving them on the catwalk) before he stepped into the truck!

After talking for a little bit, we exchanged business cards, said our goodbyes and they left. Turns out they were real estate agents - "Born Again Homes, Inc." No wonder they were so nice. The tagline on their business card said "Where will you spend eternity?" Wow. A couple who is that dedicated to finding you a home? A home for eternity? What a great business strategy. If I were buying a home in the area, they'd be my first phonecall. You can tell they just really cared about people, and that they'd probably put just as much care in helping to make sure you found just the right thing when making such a costly purchase.

A few weeks later, there was a knock on our back door. It caught us by surprise because no one ever comes to our back door. It sort of freaked us out. Rather than opening the backdoor, Ed went to the passenger side window and stuck his head out to see who was doing the knocking. Then I heard him say, "Oh! Come around the back."

I opened the back door and there they were, the real estate agent guy and his wife. They saw the truck in the parking lot and thought they'd come over to say hello. And they had a little something for us - mini-donuts from Starbucks! How can one go wrong with donuts??

Not only are they adept at finding a place for us to spend eternity, if we so desired their services, but they're also pretty talented in finding the path to our hearts.

Baked goods.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Captain Of The Most Expensive Fried Seafood This Side Of Arthur Treacher’s
Eddie Acts Like A Monkey Friday
I Might Like It If There Is Some Balling Involved
Very Large Cheek Pouches Come In Handy When Traveling
The French Are So Romance Savvy
Wyoming Clean Air Act

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Her Cup Overfloweth With Idiocy

Yesterday when I was at the post office, I saw this bumper sticker on the driver side door of some woman's car. I know it was a woman because other stickers said things like "Bitch" and "Princess Inside".

I'm just thinking, what happens if this woman gets pulled over? Picture it...the cop rolls up behind her, lights and sirens going, and starts to walk up to the driver's side door. Along the way, he's seeing all these other bumper stickers....and then he gets to the one on the driver's side door.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know all about the whole "freedom of speech" thing. But really?? You need to put this on your car? Your piece of shit car, no less. I wish I had seen the woman, that might have explained a lot. In fact, I bet I could have picked her out from who was standing in line with me at the post office.

I happen to think it's an amusing question, but I don't think I'd be running around with it on the door of my car.

To me, this woman is an idiot.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dear Arizona,
Come Sit In Our Cab For A Spell And Let Us Take You On The Road
How Well Do You Know Your Stringed Instruments?
Meat. The Old Fashioned Way.
Kicking The Hell Out Of Texas
Look, Mary!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Prized Good Luck Piece

Yesterday, I came across these two keychains in my jewelry box. They were given to us by a family in Agerola, Italy the night we ate at their restaurant. We went to Agerola to see the village where my step-father’s ancestors came from. We stopped at the first restaurant we came to and met these fantastic people, who treated us as if they had known us their whole lives.

They engaged us in a little game in order to win a prize, which turned out to be the keychains; Ed got the heart and I got the Italian horn. It’s just beautiful in person. Heavy, made of metal with a shiny enamel coating and a band of rhinestones around the top. The chain and the ring on it are also very sturdy. I have no fear of losing it.

The Italian horn, known as the Cornicello or Corno in Italian, is something that I’ve grown up knowing about, many of my extended family wore them. Never my immediate family though, I think my mother and father thought them to be too "guido". In ancient Italian culture, it was said to be protection against mal occhio, the “evil eye”. Many considered it a good luck charm. I think the guys in my family, and the other Italians I knew, wore it as more of a fashion statement, a jewelry staple, a display of their “Italian-ness”.

Now that I have come across it again, it’ll be dangling from my ignition on a daily basis. Since I have no evil eye to ward off, I’ll just use it as a general good luck charm. Too bad we weren’t using it in Rome the day we got our traffic violation.

Read more about the Italian Horn

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Man Makes A Mad Meal

Yesterday I decided I was going to make lasagna. Today, Ed decided he wanted to do it. He wanted me to show him what to do, but not to actually help. I agreed, but secretly thought I'd have an aneurism because I'm such a control freak and didn't think I'd be able to get through watching him through the entire process.

What if he didn't spread the ricotta correctly? What if he didn't sprinkle on enough mozzarella? What if he didn't alternate the pasta on each layer? I've seen him cook before. And I don't like the way he stirs. But he felt he could handle it, so I had to sit back and just instruct. Here he is finishing up the first pan - we made three pans so we'd have it to eat for meals this week.

He did very well, needing minimal instruction. I still don't like the way he stirs, but it didn't seem to affect the finished product. Sorry for the not-so-crisp photos, but I took these with the iPhone - take a look at this beauty:

I have to say, it was amazingly delicious. We'll use the big pan for tonight's meal and the next few days until it's gone, and I'll cut and wrap individual pieces from the other two pans and freeze them for another time.

The kitchen comes in so handy. Last night I made stir-fry with the two porterhouse steaks I had in the freezer. We bought fresh red and green bell peppers, onion, mushrooms and snow peas, I added a can of water chestnuts, and tossed it all in a tasty stir fry sauce. Deeeelish!

I'm very excited that Ed made dinner (and lunch, and lunch, and lunch) for us. I still got stuck doing the dishes, but that's a small task compared to all the prep and cooking he had to do. I'm going to kick back and watch some tube now.

Ahhhh, this is the life.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Less Is Not More In All Cases
Grain Gone By
The Absolute Beauty Of It
Not Only Did He Pray, He Posed
Camera Phone Coolness
Life Is A Salt Shaker

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's Got Lipstick Written All Over It

My beautiful friend, Kelly Embleton, also known as the Lipstick Trucker, has been profiled in Student Driver Placement magazine. Check out the article here.

Super excited for her!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Liquid Crack
For All The World To See
Studio Blue
Eddie Tests His Spine Friday
Almost Twenty

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Waiting For Someone To Service Me

Today we had our valves adjusted. No, it's not as exciting as it sounds. What it actually meant was sitting, for almost four hours (when they said it would only take two), on a dirty couch in a hot driver's lounge, breathing air heavy with grease, oil and diesel smell.

The thing I hate most about taking the truck into the shop is that I have to get out of my comfortable sleeper, with my ice cold a/c, and a selection of food and beverages that would put any kitchen to shame, because some idiot tripped over an air chuck. It's all about liability now. They don't want you in the truck for fear of you getting hurt and suing them. They should be more worried about providing a better level of customer service.

Oh, they did the job, but their attitudes left much to be desired. Their attempt at providing any service at all, was as empty as the window in the photo.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Rockin’ Rockaholic Haul
Just Don’t Call Me Late For Dinner
In This Case, R & R Means Recumbent And Recuperation
Posthumously Famous In The World Of Cheap Lodging
What Better Reason To Dine Out?
Hudson Valley Summer

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pick 'Em Slow And Gently

This week on our way back to Baltimore, we bought some Rainier cherries in Washington State, not far from the Yakima Valley where they're grown. A week or so ago, I saw Rainier cherries in Baltimore for $6.99 a pound. I had four pounds in my cart. Then I thought, almost thirty dollars on cherries? really? I put them back.

But the cherries we found in Washington, were not only fantastic in taste, but we got three pounds for eight bucks. That's only $2.66 a pound. What a deal! Maybe we need to get into the cherry hauling business.

this article, I learned all kinds of things about cherries.

I learned that the Rainier cherry is the sweetest, prettiest and most pampered of cherries. And it's very temperamental; if the temperature gets to 90 degrees, the cherry loses a day of life. If it's too windy, the cherry gets brusied from hitting the other cherries. If it rains more than one day, the cherry busts its skin.

I learned that one third of a Rainier cherry orchard's crop is eaten by birds (lucky birds).

I learned that people in Japan are willing to pay more than one dollar PER cherry for Rainiers. Maybe we need to get into the cherry export business.

I learned that the Rainier was bred, it didn't occur naturally. Harold Fogle, who was the director of the cherry breeding program (who knew there was such a thing?) at Washington State University in Prosser, WA created this cherry in 1952. It's a cross between a Bing cherry and a Van cherry, which are two sweet varieties. And sweet they were. Like little sugar bombs.

Who ever knew that I'd get to know so much about cherries, Rainier or not. All I remember from my youth, was my father handpicking the cherries in the grocery store, getting all the plump, firm, dark red ones. They were the sweetest.

Seems good cherry pickin' is in my blood.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Listen, Learn And Laugh
Where Is Robin Hood When You Need Him?
All American Eddie Friday
A Hippie Dippie Woo Woo Town Sporting Lots Of Leg Hair
Flowering Rocks
The Cool Mom

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Reckless In Rome

You'll need to click on this image scan if you want to see the details, but if you're happy just hearing about it, read on.

This week, my cousin received a traffic violation from Rome. Apparently, during our Italian vacation (back in October of 2010!), we were "driving in a limited traffic area without authorization".

If you've ever driven in Rome, every area seems like a limited traffic area. We did see signs for the ZTL, the
Zona a Traffico Limitato, in other villages we went to, but I don't recall seeing them in Rome. Probably because the traffic was so frenetic that we were busy looking out for scooters, motorcycles, other cars and pedestrians as we drove around looking for our hotel.

We now owe €99.88 to the Roma Dipartimento il O.U. Contravvenzioni. That works out to about $143.00 US dollars. I'm really surprised we didn't rack up more tickets being thrust into traffic the way we were. I believe I mentioned this in another post, but we're truck drivers for crying out loud, and the rest of our group is from New York City - you'd think a little traffic would be nothing to us. But at any given time, someone in the vehicle was stomping the imaginary brake or on the verge of peeing their pants.

My first instinct is to just pay it. It's not a lot of money and I don't want it to cause any trouble if any of us go back (well, if my cousin goes back, since the car was rented in her name). But since it took so long for them to send us a ticket, I think we're going to see if we can contact our hotel and have them look into helping us get out of having to pay it. After all, what's a few more months of red tape?

Grazie, Roma.

** 2016 UPDATE **
In July 2016, I was contacted by a company who provides information on ZTL Driving Zones in Italy.  It was a little late to help me, but maybe it'll help you.  Check them out HERE.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Losing The Wallet At Your Convenience

Once upon a time, I worked at a lush Westin resort. Some of the best years of my life were spent there, making some really great memories. It was a place where I made friends that I still have to this day, seventeen years later.

Two of those friends are Greg and Alan.

Greg and I had an immediate intellectual connection. We thought the same, laughed about the same things, found the same people to be morons and shared a mindset that was sometimes frighteningly similar.  You would think we were separated at birth. At one time, he was my boss (slave driver!), but other than that dark moment in our working relationship, our days on the job were the best.

Alan and I met over the phone.  I worked in one department, he worked in another, and although we were in the same building, I had never met him in person. I was an "upstairs" chick, he was a "downstairs" guy. There really was not a need for us to interact in person, but our departments did talk to each other regularly. God, I must have talked to him for months before we actually laid eyes on each other. In fact, we planned a dinner date sight unseen prior to that first meeting.

After that night out, he and I became inseparable. Either I was at his house or he was at mine. Everyone in my family knew him and he was a big hit with the folks. His parents knew me too, and I had been to their house several times, which was always a thrill for me because his French born mother was a phenomenal cook. We did everything together.  Shopping at the mall, meeting for coffee, movies, dinner, and weekends in Vegas. He was even my date to my cousin's wedding in New York. I absolutely love Alan.

Then the three of us became good friends. In addition to hanging out separately, we often went out to dinner together and always accompanied each other to Westin events or parties. We had the best fun and more laughs than seemed humanly possible. We shared details of our lives, which often included dating war stories. Sometimes, those stories became legendary.

Although they dubbed me Puta del Mundo (translation: slut of the world), it was more because I talked a big game and flirted with every single cute boy in the place.  I wasn't actually a slut. Greg was the actual slut. In fact, if there were a slut hierarchy, Greg would be in the very top ranks, I would be somewhere in the middle, and Alan would be waaaaaay down on the bottom, beneath the nuns. He was positively angelic. Not that he didn't have crushes and lust after the same boys Greg and I did, he just never did anything about it.

Two stories follow, the one about the wallet and the one about the AM/PM convenience store.  I'll tell you that one first.

The AM/PM was a chain of convenience stores in our town. They were everywhere, like 7-11. One night, while out with a guy I was totally crushing on, we stopped there for something to drink. We went in, got a couple of sodas and sat in the car in the AM/PM parking lot talking (seriously). One thing led to another, and before I knew it, we were totally making out. Oblivious to the comings and goings of cars around us, we continued on with our thing. It never went further than kissing, but boy was it some serious kissing. I'm sure we were a spectacle.

After that evening, I shared the story with Greg and Alan. They got a real kick out of it, and both of them thought I wasn't telling the truth. They were convinced I had sex. In the car. In a parking lot. That's so not my style. I'm not a backseat sort of chick, no matter how hot the guy is. I prefer the front seat. Badum-bum.  OK, seriously, I'm just kidding. No sex took place.

A few days later, I received a phone call from a guy who said he wanted to speak to me about the night I was in the AM/PM parking lot.  He had a Middle Eastern accent.  He said after viewing their surveillance tapes, I had some explaining to do. First, I had no idea what he was talking about, thinking "AM/PM? When the hell was I there??"

He then eluded to the "activity" that was taking place in the car and I was all, "oohhhhhh". I suddenly knew exactly what he was talking about. He babbled on about some policies they had, what could take place on their property, how people complained to the store manager. I was mortified.

He continued talking until he started to laugh. I was confused. He tried to continue telling me about how I had a lot of explaining to do, but he couldn't contain his laughter. I became suspicious at the same time he broke character, dropping the accent he was using and finally admitting who he really was. It was Greg. Holy shit, I about peed my pants. After I knew I hadn't been the subject of numerous complaints about "lewd behavior" in the parking lot, I couldn't stop laughing.  That was such a Greg thing to do.

That incident spurred an ongoing joke about whether or not our respective dates were going to end with a trip to the AM/PM. To this day, I can't go in one of those stores without thinking about that night.

The wallet story is similar in its memorableness.

One night, Alan and I were going to dinner and Greg and his date were supposed to meet us. He never showed up and didn't answer his phone when we tried to reach him. The next day we found out that Greg and his date were on their way to the restaurant when Greg realized that he didn't have his wallet. So they had to turn around and go back to his apartment to get it. Once inside, one thing led to another and well, they never left the apartment. Greg blew off our dinner date for some cute, young thing.

After that night, "losing the wallet" became a euphemism for having sex. Whenever someone went on a date, the question afterward was always, "Did you lose the wallet?" Or, if you were hoping there would be a little action, you'd say something along the lines of, "I hope I have a chance to look for the wallet tonight." Or, plain old "I lost the wallet." No further explanation needed.

Which brings me to a note that Greg recently found among some old papers.  It was from Alan, referencing both of the stories above:
It says, "Greggie, I never found the wallet. I guess maybe I should've went to the AM/PM to see if it was there. A"   
Apparently, the nun finally had a date, but didn't get any action. He seems to think he might have had better luck at the AM/PM.

I doubt it. He'd be the only one of the three of us to go there and actually leave with a 32 oz. soda and a bag of Doritos.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Bridge Over Troubled Roadway
If Only The Streets Were Truly Paved With Gold
She Reigns Supreme
A Match Made In Heaven
Caped Crusaders

Friday, July 22, 2011

Approaching Chi-Town

by Carl Sandburg

HOG Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it
is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to
kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the
faces of women and children I have seen the marks
of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who
sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer
and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on
job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the
little soft cities;

Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning
as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with
white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young
man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has
never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse.
and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of
Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog
Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with
Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Paneful Outlook
Gray County Silhouette
This Little Piggy Went To Market
I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
The Heat Bog

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Way Better Than Seven Years In Tibet

Today, according to my mother (she keeps impeccable records), is the anniversary of my first date with Ed. Seven years ago. And we're still here.

Most of our time is spent less than three feet apart, twenty-four hours a day, three-hundred days a year. I get to look at that mug every day. Eddie (when I'm not on the verge of killing him) is every woman's dream. He's smart, funny, goal oriented. A hard worker, a gentle spirit, a polite gentleman. A caring partner, a sweet lover, a reliable mate.

He is loved by all. So much so, that when I'm acting up, the crowd rallies with cries of "Poor Ed!" and "Aw, don't pick on Eddie." My nephews ask to speak to him first, want to know "what's Ed doing?" I'm chopped liver when Ed's around.

I got pretty lucky when I snagged this cute guy, who at the time was just twenty-nine years old. Some would say cradle-robbing was involved. I say the cradle fell right into my lap. Our first date still remains one of the best dates I've ever been on. He even stayed in town an extra night just to see me again, a fact I didn't find out about until he called me the next day to ask what I was doing and did I want to go out again?

Sometimes when I'm sitting in the truck, I'll see a guy in the truckstop walking across the parking lot, and I'll say to myself wow, that guy is totally cute. And then I realize that "that guy" is walking towards me. That guy is MY guy.

Thanks for seven wonderful years, Spaghetti. I look forward to our future, as we have lots of plans, don't we? Just remember...

You are very loved by me.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
His Charm And Understated Humor Is Totally Contagious
The Creature Comforts Of Home
Happy As A Clam
Two Things
Good For Licking

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jack & Jill Went Up A Hill To Fetch Some Aircraft Parts

Today we are finally leaving with our load. I didn't think anyone was interested in the detail details, but in comments yesterday, a reader asked what the hold up was.

Well, it was a manufacturing related glitch. We are hauling aircraft parts. They are held to a very high standard of inspection (which is a good thing), and apparently the inspectors weren't entirely happy with the piece we were supposed to be moving. So back it went.

It was a small repair, but it had to be done correctly since these things are actually going on planes. Pictures went back and forth between project managers, the piece had to be brought back to some point in the production line to start over, the inspectors had to re-inspect, shipping had to load it on the trailer; everything needed to be just right.

In the meantime, Ed and I had breakfast, watched some TV, caught up on some reading, ordered a part for our home theater system, went to the post office (again!), had lunch (homemade egg salad...yum!) and took a nap - someone has to be well rested for when this thing was finally ready to go.

Now we're on the way. You probably won't hear from me as we truck across America, but if I have a minute to steal from my sleep time, I'll try to post something. The weather is great, the truck is fully stocked with food, water and fuel, and my newest audiobooks are loaded and ready to be listened to.

See you in a few days!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Live Longer. Live Better. And Be Sure To Have A Devil Dog Once In A While.
How Can You Not Be In Love With The Man Who Invented Kisses?
And We Wonder Why We’re The Fattest Nation On Earth
Star Gazing
Only A Southerner
Do You Take Wolfgang Winkelmeyer To Be Your Lawful Wedded Husband?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Things Are Going Just Swimmingly

We're sort of like fish in a tank when we're waiting on our load; we can't really leave, because we're being paid to be "on call". When the load is ready, we have to be nearby and prepared to get behind the wheel to begin our cross-country journey.

We've been waiting for three days, going into the fourth. Ed had a few things left to do on the truck and I really wanted to get a pedicure, so the extra time worked out pretty well for us. I probably should have also done laundry, but since I have enough clothes in the truck to outfit the cast of a Broadway show, I'm holding off until next week.

I'm not going to lie, it's a little irritating to be hanging around not really knowing when the load will be ready, but ultimately, it's not the worst thing. You see, for us as a team, we have to figure out who's going to sleep and who's going to drive. And when you're told the load will be ready at a certain time, we plan around that information. When we don't have that information, planning is impossible. Who sleeps? Who stays up? Who drives first?

The load was supposed to be ready on Friday. It wasn't. Then Saturday morning. Then Saturday afternoon. Then Saturday in the "wee hours". Then Sunday morning. Afternoon. Evening. "Oh, definitely by ten." PM. Not ready. Then this morning at ten. But we didn't get the call. So we called at noon and were told it would be ready in a few hours. When we called in a few hours, they said tonight at eight. It's well past eight and the load is still not ready. The newest update is, once again, the "wee hours".

So for now, we the air-conditioned "tank", both of us getting a little shut-eye until they ring our phone and tell us where to be.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Flamingo Was A Little Too Fiery For Me

Today Eddie and I ran a few errands, got a bite to eat and then hit the mall for Macy's - they were having a one day sale and I needed to see if there was anything I couldn't live without.

I tried on a bunch of clothes but didn't fall in love with anything. I looked at earrings because I'm in the market for gold hoops but didn't find the right shape. Really though, when it comes to real jewelry (not costume), I only ever look. My cousin is a jeweler and if I ever need something, I buy it from him. You know, "family discount" and all. But I did find a piece of jewelry as a gift for my cousin. I'm pretty sure she'll love it.

The one thing I did go in for was a purse. They have a great selection and I was hoping I'd find something as nice as the last bag I bought there. I looked through everything; Dooney's, Coach, Michael Kors. They were all beautiful but a little too pricey to carry in the truck. I also have a thing with straps; they have to be long enough to hang comfortably, not bringing the purse up under my armpit. My favorite style is a crossbody purse, but typically the strap isn't long enough to allow the purse to rest on my hip, which is where I like it. Then I saw THIS.I really wanted it in the "Flamingo" color shown here, and even though I had it strapped across my body admiring how the color looked against the outfit I was wearing, I knew that it was probably one of only a few outfits it would match. So I got it in black. And I love it. We walked around the mall for a little while, sat on a bench for about an hour and people watched, and then wrapped up the whole day at the mall with a stop at Cinnabon.

Now the only thing left to do is get rid of my old purse and prep myself for the Cinnabon sugar coma that is undoubtedly going to hit later tonight. I guess if you're going to go into a sugar coma, the end of the shopping day is the best time to do it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Urban Rest Area
2 YEARS AGO: Within Striking Distance
3 YEARS AGO: And Island Of COWS, Lobsters And Girls In Imaginary Prairie Dresses
4 YEARS AGO: Freakin’ Ewww!
5 YEARS AGO: And People Say All The Good Ones Are Taken
6 YEARS AGO: Ahhhhh, Bahston

Friday, July 15, 2011

Instantly Sexy

Photo taken with my new favorite iPhone app, Instagram. If you don't have it, get it. Best part? It's FREE.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Natural Light In Waterloo
So, What Brings You To My Neck Of The Blogosphere?
Eternity Is Going To Be SO. MUCH. FUN.
I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
That Eddie Guy
Pee Bum Head

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Breaking The Spell

There is always a person at a get-together with friends, a dinner party with family or night out with your crew who is a spell breaker. It happens when they say the seven words I dread hearing.

"Well, I guess I should get going..."

It's not long after that everyone seems to trickle out, following the pied piper into the night. I suppose it's a little different when you're young and out clubbing, because those words are usually shouted across a noisy dance floor, to whomever happens to have caught the eye of the one departing, and even if they don't hear what was said, they still holler back, "Sure! OK. Have fun!" Five minutes later they won't even care you're gone.

For me, the urge to depart is most noticeable when I'm with people in a quiet environment; a restaurant dinner, a family gathering, a birthday dinner at the folks house. I'm the kind of person who will pile the dishes in the sink to do them after my dinner guests have left. I'm also type who will stay at the table with empty coffee cups, dessert plates smeared with hardened frosting, and water goblets that are sweating from melting ice.

As soon as someone gets up from the table, especially if they're clearing the dishes, I get tense and annoyed. Whether at your own home or someone else's, it's just rude. If you're the one throwing the dinner or party, you shouldn't leave the room to do dishes, you should be entertaining your guests. If it's at someone else's house and you start clearing or doing dishes, it's tantamount to saying, "I'm bored with this conversation. It's time to wrap this up." Either scenario is unpleasant.

My best memories involve talking and laughing into the wee hours of the morning, whether it's with family, new friends, old friends, or best friends
. The times when you had to take the food out again to make a sandwich because it's been hours since you last ate; nights when another pot of coffee needs to be brewed, or another bottle of wine needs to be opened; or when you're the only two left in a restaurant and the staff has started to vacuum.

Those are the times when everyone is under the spell. And it's magical.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It Never Ends
275 Square Miles Of Brilliance
Four Standards, One Newbie
36 Hours Of Hell On Earth

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's Like Cheers, Where Everybody Knows Your Name. OK, So It's More Like Where Just One Guy Knows Your Face.

We found a new place to dine in our newly adopted home town. Each week on this run, we do a round trip and come back to "home base". We've scoped out a few local restaurants, some of which we've gone back to several times. One of those places is Liberatore’s, a local Italian restaurant.

We've tried everything from the Rustichella (check the menu), to the daily specials, to the eggplant parmigiana, to the gnocchi, to the Pollo Al Pepperoncini (check the menu again), to the tiramisu and cannoli. We approve of everything we've stuffed in our maws.

They don't "officially" have truck parking, but as you know, there are no trails we fear to blaze. We make parking.

Best part about eating there? On just our second time in, the owner stopped at our table and said, "Nice to see you again."

Oh yeah. That's my kind of customer service. We'll definitely be going back.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Social NOTworking
Time Isn’t The Only Thing That Flies When You’re Having Fun
Anything I Want
Burglar And Idiot Proof
Virginia Is For Lovers

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Moments Before Sleepy Time

It's so easy to get behind on my blog when we're on a team run. This week we ran across the country, taking turns driving and sleeping. I take my sleep time seriously. As soon as I'm done driving, I take my makeup off, wash my face, brush my teeth and get between the sheets. I read a few pages of news or favorite blogs online and I'm off to sleep.

I sleep very well when the truck is moving. In fact, I look forward to it. The sound of the tires on the road, the white noise of the fan in the sleeper, the occasional glimpse of a mountain peak or lightning strike out the window when I roll over and open one eye. The only thing that might bother me is if Ed slams the door too many times, which he does when he stops for fuel. In and out, in and out, in and out. Sometimes I sleep through it, other times it startles me.

So when you see a few days where I haven't caught up, it means I haven't had time to formulate thoughts, take pictures or stop to write a word, let alone a whole blog post.

Likely, I'm busy sleeping.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Bakin’ It The Fake Way
The Elegant Gathering Of A Life
My, What A Nice Berg You Have
The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Grapes Being Crushed Into Wine
There Are No Words To Explain The Misery Of A Three Digit Temperature
6 YEARS AGO: New York State Of Mind

Monday, July 11, 2011

America Runs On Dunkin'

Just miles from where someone carved the letters U-S-A in a cornfield, these Muslim-Americans were enjoying lattes and donuts at the same place I was.

This is my America. And I love it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Los Links!!
Here Kitty Kitty Kitty
Intense Eddie Friday
It’s An iPod, Not A wePod
Doing The Wade
It’s A Numbers Game

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Montana Fluff

These dandelions were gigantic! Each fluffy head was the size of a baseball!!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Stop The Presses!
Fiesta Ed Friday
Crotchety Old Woman
One Side Of A Coin
Why Oh Why
Sign Of The Times

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Who Says Truckers Don't Have Nice Legs?

I saw this while tooling down the highway this week; from the back it looked like a leg wearing a gladiator sandal, but when I got closer I saw that it was a pair of woman's legs with high heeled sandals. Not something you often see being transported. There was another piece on the truck with it, but I couldn't identify what it was - it looked like pieces of the same sculpture but I couldn't figure out how they worked with each other.

Update: One of my readers (thanks Dale!) discovered that the legs belong to
Marilyn Monroe; they were being shipped from New Jersey, where the sculpture was made by artist Seward Johnson, to Chicago, where she now stands on Michigan Avenue. In this photo, you can see the legs better from the side and the other piece, which I now figure was part of the skirt.

How cool is that?

Friday, July 08, 2011

Special Seasoning

Tonight we dined at P.F. Chang's. It's become a favorite spot for us in this area. Whereas we normally have Chinese every few months, now it's been every couple of weeks. Tonight I had the Sesame Chicken; tender chicken breast, broccoli, red bell peppers and onions in a spicy sesame sauce. It was deeeelish.

I took a picture of it for you. It's so special, that they give my peppers their own numbers! Look - I got red pepper number 4088!

I'm not sure what to think...does this mean my peppers are so fresh they went across the street to the local grocery store to buy them, they weren't washed (hence the label still being on them) or they were washed, but they had the same problem I often have at home - those damn sticky little labels.

Whatever the case, I'm sure I'll survive. As my mother always said, "No one's ever died from eating a little dirt."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Two Truck Drivers, A Writer And A Photographer Walk Into A Bar
Taking The Express To The Heartland
TIT-illating Sights On The Road
I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
Embracing Your Inner Bike Riding Hussy
It Takes A Village To Wake A Child

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Following The Trail Of The Father Of Our Country To The Place Where A Cuckoo Flew Over A Nest

The sign can be found in front of Rodgers Tavern in Perryville, Maryland. It was owned by Colonel John Rodgers and was frequently visited by George Washington between 1755 and 1798. During the Revolutionary War, Perryville served as a staging area for the Continental Army.

We've been to Perryville several times; twice we've hauled loads to the train yard there, several other times while driving around exploring, and just recently when we went to the VA Hospital at Perry Point. Now that was interesting. While in the waiting room, a police officer came through, frantically walking around as if he was looking for something. Then he left. Then he came back, again spastically whipping his head around, squeezing between the chairs, talking into his shoulder microphone.

Apparently, someone left a duffle bag unattended. He asked us and a few others if we saw who left the duffle bag (we didn't), but we had only been there a few minutes. Two other officers joined him, all of them on their cell phones and shoulder microphones. Then they approached a man who they wanted to talk to. He resisted a bit but then went with them. Across the room, in full view of everyone, they put him up against a wall and handcuffed him, while going through the messenger bag he was carrying.

All the while this was going on, I was taking pictures on my cell phone and Facebooking it. I probably should have been running from the building seeking cover, but it was too entertaining; very Keystone Cop. What Ed found amusing was, that with a waiting room FULL of military veterans, not ONE person noticed an unattended dufflebag. So much for all that expensive anti-terrorism training.

The campus on which the medical center is located is quite interesting. The location is beautiful, right on the water, with a lot of green space, but much of it looks as if it's been forgotten by time. Many of the buildings are old, and the newer ones don't look like they've been kept up very well. It's got a creepy, mental institution feel to it, like something out of a movie. The people sitting around the grounds looked lost and the people wandering the halls in the hospital area were just as bizarre.

When Ed and I left, he said "I'm glad I didn't have to get treated for anything there."

I said, "Yeah. Very One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, wasn't it?"

"Exactly," he said.

I'm thinking if 'ol George Washington had a choice between the VA Medical Center and Rodgers Tavern, he'd choose a strong whiskey to ease his pain.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

I Think We Have A Winner

This might be premature, since we haven't checked out Cherry Hill yet, but I think we've found an RV park in which to spend our days off. In Maryland, we've already checked out Susquehanna and Patapsco Valley State Parks, and although they were both beautiful, they were a little too densely wooded, which is great if you're going bird watching, hiking or leaf peeping, but I need internet and satellite TV. I know, very Grizzly Adams of me.

This week though, we found Elk Neck State Park in North East, Maryland. Elk Neck is at the very tip of a peninsula that juts out into the Chesapeake Bay. The park is beautiful, meticulously maintained, has a view of the water and in the half hour we were there driving around looking at the camping sites, we saw a deer, several squirrels and a ground hog. The place was pretty nice. AND we had a satellite TV signal and internet.

We didn't stay there on this visit, but we will probably try it out for a few nights in the future. It's just too good to pass up. The Turkey Point Lighthouse (in the photo) is the signature destination at the park and sits atop a 100 foot high bluff; standing there, you can look out onto the Chesapeake Bay and see for miles. There are a few other RV parks that we've been told about and there are a couple of other state parks we want to check out.

Waking up to deer outside my window certainly beats waking to the sound of a freight train or the sight of turtles walking to work.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Progressively Yours,
2 YEARS AGO: Spill It
3 YEARS AGO: I’ve NEVER Colored Inside The Lines. Why The Surprise?
4 YEARS AGO: I Didn’t Make It, But I Ate It
5 YEARS AGO: Sorry, no post for this day.
6 YEARS AGO: Slim Or None? I’ll Take None.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Hello, Kitty. Who's Your Friend?

Tomorrow Verizon Wireless will discontinue their unlimited data plan on smart phones; they're going to a tiered plan like AT&T has. We use tons of data and are both already on unlimited plans. But I had been wanting to get my mother an iPhone for a while now (why, I don't know, because I'll probably have an aneurism trying to teach her how to use it) and I figured now was the time. I'd get the phone, get the unlimited plan, and she'd be grandfathered in no matter what we decide to do down the road.

I'll actually be getting myself a new iPhone (the 32 GB one) and will be giving my mother my current one (the 16 GB one). I just got mine a few months ago, so it's essentially brand new. I figured I'd set her up with a few apps, throw some pictures on there and create some playlists for her. I've got books on Kindle and audiobooks on Audible. She's going to love it, I'm sure.

I didn't want to pay more than twenty dollars for a case so I went to Ross and checked out their selection. Last time I got a clear purple silicone Belkin case for $4.99; the same one I had seen in the Verizon store for $19.99. I didn't find any really plain silicone cases, but I did find the Hello Kitty one in the picture above.

My mother decided she liked the purple one, so I'll be sending her the phone with that case, and Hello Kitty now lives in my purse. It's actually quite a cute cover. I haven't had anything with Hello Kitty on it for over thirty-five years. Now I'm making phone calls, sometimes in public, on a phone with a bright red cover that has a kitten holding a teddy bear on the back.

Man, I'm regressing. Next thing you know, I'll be back in diapers; the adult ones.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Independence In The Town Of The Big House

I didn't take this photo and although the photographer thinks the fireworks at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore are lame, he took some pretty great photos, which is why I'm using his instead of mine to illustrate this post.

We spent this July fourth in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, with a great spot, waterside. Ed bought a portable barbeque grill (grrr....arrrggghhhh...manly man....grill master!) and purchased kabobs, shitake peppercorn burgers and fresh local corn on the cob. My only contribution to the meal were canned baked beans and the paper plates to put everything on.

He cooked beside the truck while I prepared our dining area. We had a clear view of the waterfront from our dining room table, but sat up front in the cab of the truck when the show started. We thought we found a "secret" spot in the industrial area of the waterfront; thought we'd blend more in that kind of area with our truck, but it seems many others had also discovered the strip of land and we were joined by several others watching the show. We were the only ones in a big rig though.

This last trip back from Washington was great, as I saw several fireworks shows along the way. I usually drive at night, so I saw three pretty big shows in Missoula, Montana; Bismarck, North Dakota; and Beloit, Wisconsin, and several little ones in between. And we made it back to Baltimore in time to deliver our trailer and make it to the harbor without getting stuck in traffic. Miracle.

Hope everyone had a great fourth and got to see the sky light up like we did!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It’s So Much Prettier
Soap Box Derby – Spavinaw Style
Eddie’s Independence Friday
Miss Independent
Independence Day
The Mother Road To Independence